Page 1

6 Liberation War Mobile Museum

11 Framing a new perspective

16 for love of desh | vo l 1 I ssu e 48 | F R I D AY, M A R CH 28, 2014

WE,the people of Bangladesh, having proclaimed our independence on

the 26th day of March, 1971, and through a historic struggle for national liberation, established the independent,

sovereign People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Pledging that the high ideals of

nationalism, socialism, democracy Secularism, which

inspired our heroic people to dedicate themselves to,

our brave martyrs to sacrifice their

lives in, the national liberation struggle, shall be the fundamental principles of the Constitution;

Further pledging that it shall be a fundamental aim of the State to realise through the democratic process

a socialist society, free from exploitation; a society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, political, economic and social, will be secured for all citizens;

Affirming that it is our sacred duty to safeguard, protect,

defend this Constitution and to maintain its supremacy as the embodiment of the will

of the people of Bangladesh

so that we may prosper in freedom and may make our full contribution towards international peace and cooperation in keeping with the progressive aspirations of mankind; In our Constituent Assembly, this eighteenth day of Kartick, 1379 BS, corresponding to

the fourth day of November, 1972 AD, WE do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution.


A W e ekly Productio n of



Issue 48 | March 28, 2014

Editor Zafar Sobhan Magazines Editor Sabrina Fatma Ahmad Weekend Tribune Team Rumana Habib Esha Aurora Faisal Mahmud Shah Nahian Syeda Samira Sadeque Adil Sakhawat James Saville Sumaiya Shams Farhana Urmee Art Direction/Photography Syed Latif Hossain Cartoon Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy Rio Shuvo Priyo

6 Feature


2 This Week 4 Say What?

Liberation War Mobile Museum Features

5 Interview A Bangali on Mars 16 Feature Tourism in Bangladesh 18 Travelogue Trekking in Bangladesh 20 Feature Bangla keyboard 25 POV A Pakistani on 1971

Contributors Jennifer Ashraf Kashmi Tausif Sanzum Dina Sobhan


Design Sabiha Mahmud Sumi Md Mahbub Alam

8 Listology

Colour Specialist Shekhar Mondal Kazi Syras Al Mahmood

You know you grew up in Bangladesh when... 9 Post-Riposte Constructive criticism? 10 Top 10 Airplane disappearnaces

Production Masum Billah

22 Legal Eagle 23 Crime File

Fake freedom fighter certificates

Advertising Shahidan Khurshed Circulation Wahid Murad Email

About the cover

Website weekend

24 Tough Love 26 Last Word Shongram

11 Photography This week’s cover art is a typographic treatment of the preamble to the Bangladesh Constitution, as it stands today. Sumi created this piece using 11 different fonts. Graphic art by Sabiha Mahmud Sumi


Eyes on Bangladesh

Editor’s note

We, the people of Bangladesh, have been in a patriotic frame of mind this week. In honour of Independence Day, “Teaching children to write their own histories” looks at the mobile Liberation War Museum for kids. We hear a young Pakistani’s POV in “The ‘other’ side of the war,” and hold accountable “Those who play heroes” with Fake freedom fighter certificates.” We also debate: “Are we overcritical of Bangladesh?” Everybody has their “Eyes on Bangladesh” in our photography feature. We too look at ourselves: from the top of our highest mountain peak in “Shaka Haphong”; with the loving

26 Stay In Puzzles, T20 Flashmob 27 Go Out Events

eyes of a British-Bangladeshi daughter in “For love of desh”; through the rose-coloured glasses of nostaglia in “You know you grew up in Bangladesh when...” and possibly even from Mars as “Lulu reaches for the Red Planet?” We open with a roundup of the week’s events, including a remembrance of the mysterious Malaysian Airlines flight 370. We close with our Last Word, and that word is, fittingly: “Shongram.” Our nation’s 43th year was a tumultuous one, but now we are looking ahead to the “progressive aspirations of mankind ... May we prosper in freedom.”

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4



bringing environment into focus The winners of the Open and Youth categories of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards have been announced. Selected from over 70,000 entries worldwide. An overall winner will be announced by World Photography Organisation next month. The Youth competition was open to photographers under the age of 20. Turjoy Chowdhury of Bangladesh won the Environment award with this portrait. [Turjoy Chowdhury/2014 Sony Photographic Awards]

Thailand protests

An anti-government protester wears a Guy Fawkes mask during a rally in central Bangkok on Monday. Anti-government protesters in Thailand took to the streets on Monday after lying low for weeks, emboldened by a court ruling that nullified a Feb 2 general election, and dealt a blow to beleaguered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. [Reuters/ Athit Perawongmetha]

More than 2.5 lakh people on Wednesday chorused the Bangladeshi national anthem in a bid to create a world record. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also joined the 254,681 attendants at the National Parade Square at 11am, marking the 44th Independence Day of Bangladesh. The previous record for national anthem was held by

Sahara India Pariwar (India) with performance of the chorus at attendance of 121,653 on May 2013. Citizens throughout the country also stood up in salute from their respective whereabouts, in support of the event. Now, Bangladesh awaits official acknowledgment of the Guiness Book of World Records for the creation of a new record.

2.5 lakh

chorus Amar Sonar Bangla

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4




A pro-Russian protester shouts slogans in front of Ukrainian riot police who were guarding the regional administration building during a rally in central Donetsk on Saturday. Several thousands of pro-Russian protesters marched from Lenin Square to the regional administration building calling for the return of Ukraine's pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich. [Reuters/Stringer]


A man sits next to a wall with graffiti in a cell of the central prison in the district of Wango, in the capital Bangui, last Friday. Hatred between Christians and Muslims in Central African Republic has reached a "terrifying level," the UN's top human rights official said on Thursday, warning that atrocities were being carried out with impunity. [Reuters/Siegfried Modola]

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4





Ana Luiza, wearing contact lenses in the colours of the Brazilian national flag, poses on a street in Sao Paulo on Sunday. [Reuters/ Nacho Doce]

Iraqi Kurdish people carry fire torches up a mountain where a giant flag of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region is laid, as they celebrate Newroz Day, a festival marking their spring and the new year, near Dahuk, on Sunday. Newroz Day is also celebrated in other countries including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. [Reuters/ Azad Lashkari]

LIT TO THE PEAK An artist walks across the roof of his house while carrying paintings to be dried at Jelekong village near Bandung, in Indonesia's West Java province, last Thursday. The people of Jelekong village earn their living by selling their paintings.

Around 300 painters live in the village, producing about 1,000 paintings a month, each priced between 50,000-11,000,000 rupiah ($4.50-$1000), according to villager Asep Sancang, who works as a high school art teacher and painter. [Reuters/Beawiharta]

Student breaks 19th century sculpture for selfie

Photo: Time Magazine

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4

Now that “selfie” is an official word in the dictionary, it can apparently be used for breaking rules – and sculptures. So has happened at a museum in Milan, Italy, where a student, while trying to sit on a 19th century statue’s lap to take a selfie, caused its leg to fall off, Time Magazine has reported. The statue, “Drunken Satyr” shows a figure with animal-like features drunkenly sleeping. The broken leg was first spotted on Tuesday

morning by members of the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, one of Italy’s most prestigious academic institutions. The incident was also recorded on security camera. The good news is that this statue was a copy. The not-so-good news is that the student has not been named to reporters and we don’t know if he managed to actually take the selfie and break a leg (pun intended) in the world of strange selfies.

A bangali ON MARS | Interview


Lulu on the red planet?

Weekend Tribune speaks to Lulu Ferdous, first Bangladeshi woman to potentially live on Mars By James Saville


Criticisms and challenges

Not everybody has been quite so enthusiastic about the project, which is being funded on the promise of live TV rights, as there are plans to record and broadcast the entire mission as reality TV for audiences back on earth. Obviously the chances of the astronaut’s long-term survival on Mars are fairly slim, and the possibility of watching four people die live on TV certainly raises ethical questions. Many critics say that the mission is simply not

technologically possible in the given timeframe. There have also been Islamic stances against the exploration. One in particular stated that the dangers of the trip are so severe that taking part in the expedition would amount to suicide, which is prohibited in Islam. But nay sayers aside, if the Mars One mission does get off the ground, it would make our nation proud indeed to have a Bangladeshi represented among its ranks.

Photos: Courtesy

The best thing about Mars One is that there was no nationality or sex restriction, whereas to be a NASA astronaut you have to be a US citizen.

s the hustle and bustle of Dhaka getting on your nerves? Do you long for some peace? Are you yearning for a traffic jam-free existence?Perhaps you should move somewhere quieter.Somewhere far, far away. Somewhere like Mars. Of course, there would be downsides to leaving Earth – but then again, there would be benefits to life on the Red Planet. Besides the lack of traffic, one of these benefits would be the possibility of meeting Lulu Ferdous. She is the Bangladeshi woman who has gotten herself through to the second phase of astronaut selection for Mars One, a privately funded project that aims to send four people (two men and two women) on a one-way trip to Mars by 2025. The aim of the project is to have the astronauts establish a permanent human colony on the alien planet. “When I told my parents, they thought it was some kind of a planetarium tour. There was silence after I explained that I wanted to go and live on another planet.” It may seem like the kind of cranky idea that could only appeal to suicidal lunatics, but Lulu’s passion for adventures in space is serious – so much so that she’s currently studying for a doctorate in aerospace science. When the story broke on Facebook, an old school mate of Lulu’s wrote of her: “She [is a] totally different, genius, awesome person. Her handwriting was of microscopic size. I think none will forget her if ever met.” In Bangladesh, Lulu wanted to be an air force pilot, a dream she was barred from pursuing because of her gender. So instead she went to the US to study air transport administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. After graduating magna cum laude,she got a job as a research assistant at the local Nebraska outpost of NASA. It was here that her space travel ambitions began, but her nationality would preclude her from ever becoming an astronaut. That is, until a pair of Dutch entrepreneurs launched Mars One.

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4


Feature | Liberation war mobile museum

Teaching children to write their own histories Taking a new approach to teaching today’s children about the Liberation War of 1971 By Farhana Urmee

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4


oday’s children did not witness the Liberation War of 1971. They learn about it in history classes in school, and see coverage on TV, especially around this time of year. But the Liberation War Museum is taking a different approach. They ask: Rather than being a passive audience, what if the students could themselves become a part of history. The mobile museum is an initiative doing just that. It is involving children in the collection of stories about the war. As a part of its outreach programme, the museum has taken this initiative to schools across the country to teach children about the war. They have arranged for students to visit different exhibits, and screen a video about the Liberation War that teaches them more about our history. The children are further encouraged to take part in a quiz to brush up on their knowledge of the war. The mobile museum, which is basically a gigantic bus equipped with 360 photographs and exhibits from the Liberation War, has visited 27 districts. It has recorded a total of 320,812 visitors to the mini-museum. The most interesting part of the programme is when children take an interview from a family member who witnessed the war, and write an essay about it.

School students work on their collected interviews of the witnesses of the war

Archive of memories

Before going into the field, the students are given an orientations on the Liberation War, human rights and on the concept of a pluralistic world. They are brought into a focus group discussion and a networking goup with teachers. Students above grade seven are asked to collect histories of Liberation War that are not written anywhere, and reflect the experiences of common people around them during that time. Liberation War Museum activist Satyajit Roy Majumdar related his experience of discovering tear stains on a paper where a true story of the war was written by a student who had interviewed a war witness. “It could be seen, without any doubt, how much the story had touched the youngster. He is now collection and sharing stories of the war he had never heard before. Some of these stories collected by schoolchildren from their family members, neighbours, and relatives are recorded in the archive of the Liberation War Museum, and can be found on its website as well. Many have been also published as wall magazines in schools and others have appeared in national dailies. Those interested in reading these stories can access the museum’s archive.

Liberation war mobile museum | Feature


Chhotoder Muktijuddher Itihash

By Muhammad Zafar Iqbal

Photos: Liberation war museum

The stories and experience documented by school children is kept as is, with dialects intact, and the diversity of opinions presented with no distortion. Selected stories are also read out at freedom festivals arranged by the museum on Independence Day and Victory Day. Since 2004, a total of 16,800 anecdotes of experiences – gathered through these interviews by students - have been collected. More than 939 schools have been covered across the country, and a total of 435,071 students have been involved in collecting oral histories of war, according to the museum website.

Looking ahead

Children who will be taking the lead tomorrow must know about today and yesterday. We are living in a time of confusion and unsteadiness. They deserve to know their own histories, what their ancestors fought for, how their existence came into being. The teaching of the Liberation War empowers youngsters to know their roots, progress towards human rights and understand their place the world. Through its mobile museum and the project on Human Rights and Peace Education in the light of Liberation War, the programme is making a significant change in the way the children learn about the war.

Unearthing harrowing tales

Dalia, Grade 9, Barisal Dalia interviewed Sister Onu, a nun who was spared for being Christian. Sister Onu spoke of a site where thousands of dead bodies were piled behind a police camp in Bakerganj. Street dogs and vultures were preying upon them. Shirin Akter, Grade 7, Dinajpur Shirin interviewed her grandmother, who described how one of her relatives had hid in a toilet to save his life. But the Pakistani Army found him, dragged him to the mango garden, cut off his hands and legs, and put salton the wounds.

This is a book tailored for children to teach them about the Liberation War. With a simple, straightforward narration of the facts accompanied by beautiful illustrations, it exposes children to the history of our the war in a palatable way. The 16-page book, available at a nominal price of Tk20, is handy for a child to avail. The narration has a sequential flow that can be easily understood by a child. The book starts by depicting the beauty of pre-war Bangladesh, then East Pakistan. With precise narration, the author explains the geographical distance between East and West Pakistan, as well as the discrimination of the distribution of wealth in these two parts of Pakistan imposed by the western side. Starting from the Language Movement and the attainment of Bangladesh’s first victory over the West Pakistan’s cultural hegemony, the book carries smoothly forward to the political milestone leading up to the Liberation War, including the six point movement in 1966, the mass upsurge in 1969, the national election in 1970 and

the movement for independence in 1971. Children will get to learn how the declaration for the liberation war was announced by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 7, 1971, and how West Pakistan reacted, wreaking vengeance on innocent Bangalis on March 25, 1971. The nine months’ battle for liberation fought by people from all walks of life, including students and villagers, is highlighted here. Apart from the text, illustrations used in the book, multi-coloured and vibrant, will communicate the spirit of liberation war into young minds. It will certainly allow children to delve into their history. Keep this on your bookshelves at home. The book was published in 2009 by Proteeti publisher.

Sohel Rana, High school student, Rajbari Sohel interviewed his grandfather, who recalled how his home was set on fire by the occupying army while his mother and sister war inside. He described how women were taken by the Pakistani Army and were assaulted physically and sexually.

Children are shown posters during an orientation

Photos: Liberation war museum

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4



You know you grew up in Bangladesh when… Birthdays always make us nostalgic. As Bangladesh celebrates 43 years of independence, we look back on the little things that mark a quintessentially Bangladeshi childhood You read Amar Boi every year

Your new books were covered with old calendar paper

A new school year meant new shoes from Bata

Danish biscuit boxes stored sewing kits, not cookies

Eid meant lights You religiously watched McGyver on BTV

You toughened your fingernails on a carrom board

This is what evening tea meant:

You were fascinated that plates of Sharif Melamine were unbreakable

Eating out meant “Chinese khetey jawa”

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4

Election time meant a long period of unannounced (but mostly non-violent) holidays Your daily read was Chacha Chowdhury You actually wore red and white on Pohela Boishakh, not “shades” that stretched red to purple Winter also meant early morning pitha-gatherings and Khejurer rosh

You learned to completely love the ferocity of Kalboishakhi, not fear it You grew up with a completely different meaning of the word “shadhinota”

Winter meant wedding lights – even more lights than on Eid

Your idea of a slide was spilling talcum powder on the floor and sliding on it

You learnt to write your alphabets on a slate with chalk

Anything to do with March, February or December made you feel proud. Still does.

constructive criticism ? | Post-Riposte


Are we overly critical of Bangladesh? In the past 43 years, Bangladesh has had its share of both successes and failures. Is criticism constructive or destructive to our growth?


Focus on the positive By Tausif Sanzum Most of us are overcritcal. We rant about the jams on the road, corruption, dirt, work environment, food and everything else under the sun. The reason we give for our constant nagging is that we want a change. How much of a change can be brought about by moaning friends and family in our drawing rooms? If we take a break from complaining, we can spare a minute to think about the vast strides the country has made since independence. Agreed that at times being stuck in traffic jams or standing several

hours in queue to run a simple errand is frustrating. However, instead of making a fuss about it, we can brainstorm about how can we make things better. If we look into the history of Europe, we’d find that they too had their share of problems. Bangladesh is still young, and there is so much room for progress in the near future. People get demoralized when continuously battered by negative comments, and the same holds true for a country. It's time to stop complaining and start appreciating what we have.


Face our issues By Nahian Shah While it is true that Bangladesh has come a long way since Liberation, the country has also been a playground for warring politicians. It is plagued with poor infrastructure, suffers from poor education and health care systems, has low living standards, is littered with trash almost everywhere you look and the list goes on. But to say we are too critical of our country is to say that it is okay for the political parties create political havoc to the point that it is no longer safe to leave your homes, or that it is okay that so

many people live in such inhumane conditions, sleeping on sidewalks or slums, and begging to simply survive. Yes, Bangladesh is a young country. But this is the very reason that we should be critical about our current state. If we’re not critical about our own issues, we are simply accepting things the way they are. It is essential for us to be critical so that we can work towards building brighter tomorrow, and accept nothing less than the best of what this world has to offer.

Cartoon : Rio Shuvo

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4


Top 10 | Disappearances

Into thin air

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has become one of most talked about mysteries this year Here are ten deadly aircraft incidents that have left people baffled for ages By Tausif Sanzum


The mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, 2014


The aircraft was a scheduled international passenger flight. It was flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport when it disappeared after less than an hour of take-off. The aircraft had 239 people on board. Various theories are flying about the possible cause of the disappearance although Malaysia on Monday announced the plane has crashed in the Indian Ocean


Air France Flight 447, 2009 The Airbus A330-203 airliner was a scheduled international flight. The aircraft departed from Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport on May 31, 2009 for Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. The plane disappeared from radar screens in the middle of the Atlantic. It took more than 24 hours for any sighting of potential debris, and five days before the wreckage was located. The plane had 228 people on board and is considered one of the deadliest fatal accidents ever.


The stealing of Boeing 727-223 and its subsequent disappearance, 2003


The disappearance of AP-BBF, 1989

After being grounded for 14 months for non-payment of airport fees, the plane was stolen by Ben Charles Padilla – a mechanic, flight engineer and private pilot from Quatro de Fevereiro Airport, Luanda, Angola. It disappeared over the Atlantic and was never found.

The aircraft was carrying 49 passengers and five crew members from Gilgit to Islamabad when it vanished into the Himalayan Mountains. The wreckage of the plane was never found.


Varig Boeing 707-323C disappearance, 1979

This cargo flight was carrying $1m worth of paintings from Tokyo to Brazil when it mysteriously disappeared. There were six Brazilian crew members on board. The crew, paintings or wreckages of the plane were never seen again. Investigators concluded that a cabin depressurisation must have killed the crew.

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4

The disappearance of Steve Fossett, 2007 The billionaire adventurer Fossett was last known to take off in a singleengine Bellanca Super Decathlon airplane from a private airstrip near Smith Valley, Nevada. For over a year no sign of him or the aircraft was found. It is estimated that the Nevada search for Steve Fossett cost around $1.6m – the largest search and rescue effort ever conducted for a person within the US. A year later, a hiker discovered Fossett’s papers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Further investigation lead to discovery of the plane and Fossett’s bones.

7 Andes flight disaster, 1972

Flight 571 was a chartered flight carrying 45 people when it crashed into the Andes. Searches were called off after 11 days but after two months, a pair of survivors walked for 10 days through the mountains to find help and enable the others to be rescued. This flight disaster is also famous because the incident involved the passengers eating one of their fellow dead passengers due to lack of food.


The disappearance of Flying Tiger Line Flight 739, 1962

This Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation prop liner was carrying 93 US soldiers and three South Vietnamese passengers in addition to 11 plane crew members from California to Vietnam. Eighty minutes after departure, the Guam radio operators attempted to contact the flight for a position report. However, no contact could be established. The aircraft and passengers were never seen or heard from again.

Skyways Avro York 1953 9 Thedisappearance, The Avro York was a military trooping flight for the British Air Military from the United Kingdom to Jamaica. However, after emergency calls followed by a SOS message, the plane disappeared with 39 people on board over the north Atlantic. Investigation of the area found several large oil patches and dye 120 miles away from the last reported position of the aircraft.

of Miller, 1944 10 TheGlenndisappearance

Glenn Miller was the best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1943. On December 15, 1944 he boarded a Noorduyn Norseman. He was to travel from Bedford to Paris to play for charity. Within two minutes of flying, his plane disappeared into fog. No trace of the crew, passengers or the plane has been found ever since.

Eyes on Bangladesh | PHOTography


Framing a new perspective

Eyes on Bangladesh is a community-funded photography exhibition taking place in New York from March 26-30, and was organised by Nabil Rahman, Ayesha Akhtar, Jafar Ahmed, Shajia Rahman and Thahitun Mariam

Photo: Courtesy

Weekend Tribune in conversation with Nabil Rahman, the founder/curator of Eyes on Bangladesh By Esha Aurora What got you started on this project? While at graduate school, my professor James Estrin took us on a tour of The New YorkTimes photography department. While in conversation with the photographers there, we got talking about photography in Bangladesh. Talking about this made me feel a deep connection to Bangladesh. I got in touch with Shadidul Alam from Drik. One thing led to another, and I ended up in Dhaka for an internship. At Drik I met many people and discovered my heritage. A lot of second generation deshis don’t know much about their heritage. They only know what their parents teach them and what is on the news. I believe that to mobilize a community to grow one has to come from a place of success. I wanted to show people in New York the diverse stories that exist in Bangladesh. I wanted to inspire future artists [in the Bangladeshi community], and have their parents believe there is a good future in the arts. I wanted to create a dialogue between children and their parents about Bangladesh, and how one can be successful without having to become a doctor lawyer or an engineer. How did you manage to get funding for this project? I am a photographer by profession. Working for National Geographic made me believe that anything is possible. We would take photos in impossible situations, and these experiences really solidified my belief.

This exhibition was a miracle! I got in touch with a few people, and from there more people came on board. Before we knew it, we had a team. We managed to raise about $12,000 before realising that the money we were raising wasn’t going to be enough for the rest of the studio, or for printing the

How did the exhibit at the UN happen? We met the Bangladeshi ambassador at a fundraising event. When he heard about what we were doing, he offered us the space at the UN. More than two hundred people came to the exhibition. Events like these are usually organised by the older generation. A lot of

ABOUT THE Curator Nabil Rahman is the founder and curator of Eyes on Bangladesh, a community funded photographic exhibition about the diversity of Bangladesh. Nabil moved to New York City from Bangladesh with his family at the age of ten, where he felt for the first time a deep connection to Bangladesh. Years later, while at graduate school in City University of New York, he did an internship at Drik Bangladesh. This

photos. So we started working on alternative methods of gathering our funds. For example, the landlord of our studio happened to be from the sub-continent, and when he heard what we were trying to do, he gave us 80% off the original rate. Or like when we realized that printing the photos would cost us more than we could afford, we rented a printer from a photographer friend and we did the work ourselves. This was a labour of love.

experience inspired a desire to showcase the changing face of Bangladesh, and the talented new photographers that Bangladesh was producing. Eyes on Bangladesh grew from that idea into being exhibited in New York. On February 26, they hosted fundraising gala exhibition at the UN. They will continue to showcase the work free of cost a exhibit space through the end of the month. the younger generation doesn’t find much interest in these things. People didn’t expect this to be entirely organised by the youth. This was an interesting experience to watch younger people interacting with the older generation and taking a genuine interest in Bangladesh. What does this experience mean to you? A lot of things. For example just by starting this initiative, I have connected to so many other people

Turn for photoS

who feel the same way and who want to do things releted to Bangladesh. For me, Bangladeshi culture was something of a solitary experience. I couldn’t share the beauty of Tagore songs with my friends; a lot would be lost in translation. I couldn’t explain the beauty of our music. But now I am connected to many individuals who were doing the exact same thing as me, but somewhere else. We can now share a cultural experience together! I hope this becomes a yearly thing. This experience for me was a way of witnessing a country in progression – interpersonal dynamics changing. I saw how the younger generation was actually engaged in talking about their heritage with their parents. When people immigrate, more often than not they end up living in a time capsule, and their children grow up with a notion of Bangladesh that doesn’t exist anymore. The country changes, but their parents perception of the country doesn’t. I hope through this exhibition people can see a progressively different Bangladesh. I feel like I have opened the dialogue for that. That means a great deal to me. We are all drawn to a photograph because it says something to us. Is there one in particular from this exhibition that draws you more than others? They all affect me in a different way. I couldn’t choose on in particular. Bangladesh is a magical place. Each photo reminds me something from my childhood or some experience I had there.

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4




Jannatul Mawa turned to professional photography after years of working as a social activist. This photograph is from a collection of photos on housemaids and their mistresses. The exhibition describes the collection thus: “Traditionally housemaids work for just two meals a day and assist the middle class women, both housewives and working women in Bangladesh. They don’t have fixed working hours or salary. Such cheap labour is rare in the world, perhaps $15 a month. Since domestic work is gendered, housemaids are usually women. In Bangladeshi society, it is assumed that only women perform domestic work.

All photo captions provided by the artists

Close Distance. Misti, 30, is a housewife living in Dhanmondi, Dhaka. Mayna, 18, is a maid living at this house. She has worked here for the last three years to feed herself and her family. Keeping a housemaid is common situation in both middle and upper class homes in Dhaka. WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4


ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER Sarker Protick is a documentary photographer based in Dhaka. He studied photography at Pathshala, and later participated in journalism and photography courses in the US and the UK. He is currently a lecturer at Pathshala.

Of River and Lost Lands. At first the place seems abandoned. Drowned, broken houses, and floating trees are all that remain. Slowly I discover life in the villages: those who live here, refugees. Over time, the river has changed its course. During the monsoon the river runs fast, the land washes away. These are the villages of the district Ishurdi, next to the Padma river. Places I photographed do not exist anymore. River erosion still continues with dire consequences.

Untitled. Protesting students of Awami League carry out an armed parade on the streets of Dhaka, March 1971


Rashid Talukder was a noted Bangladeshi photojournalist for The Daily Ittefaq, most known for capturing some the defining images of the atrocities during the Liberation War. He passed away on October 25 2011. Photographer Shahidul Alam said of him: “This was the man who had witnessed every major event in Bangladesh’s turbulent history. Interspersed between the iconic images of our nation’s past were the curious observations of a natural storyteller. Kids bathing in the river with a real live elephant for a rubber duck, the courtship rites of hill people, a child being blessed by a sadhu, a duck sedately walking her ducklings across a busy Motijheel street. [These] were the slices of life that peered out of the more remembered seminal moments of our history that this remarkable photojournalist had meticulously recorded.” WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4



ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER Saikat Mojumder is a Bangladeshi photographer, with a special interest in human rights, issues and culture. His major photography works include Geneva camp: Where dreams are restrained, Jeopardise forest: Animal Sacrifice on Durga Puja, and Life: Born in a slum.

Born in a Slum. Even during pregnancy, Sajila had household work to do on top of her job as a day labourer. Quite understandably, it was not possible for Sajila to have the extra care or medical support an expecting mother needs. WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4


ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER Samsul Alam Helal tells the story of people. He likes to focus on minority groups and those who fall into the “neglected class.� He says he is interested in portraying their identities, dreams and longings, and to raise interest and questions about their lives. Helal is a freelance photographer based in Dhaka, and a graduate of Pathshala.

Love Studio. Jabed,31, unemployed, wants to be a powerful man who can kill corrupt people of the country

Love Studio. Kamrul,30 (right) and Ruma, 17 (left) are untrained dancers who perform at used to dance in wedding ceremonies and local festivals. Kamrul wants to be a dance director and Ruma wants to be heroine in local Bangla films

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4

16 Feature | Tourism in Bangladesh

For Love of Desh Putting Bangladesh on the travel map By Rumana Habib


asmin Choudhury, founder of Lovedesh, arrived at our interview with mishti paan in hand. “Sorry I’m late,” she said in her crisp British accent. “I was having the most wonderful conversation with the paan seller next door. I just had to video him for my blog.” Moments later, she was striking up a friendly conversation with the person standing in front of us in the queue at Gloria Jean’s. He was caught-off guard at first, but opened right up in short order. Yasmin lives for these “serendipitous moments,” as she calls them. She sees the world with loving eyes, and this is one of her greatest gifts. Her openness to the people and experiences that come her way are what would make her a wonderful guide in an undiscovered land. This is precisely what she is seeking to do with Lovedesh, a tourism social enterprise with the tagline: “Let’s travel the third world?” Yasmin personally hates the phrase “third world,” but rather than shy away from it, she says she wants to “smash the stigma” and “redress the balance” of the negative stereotyping of underdeveloped countries like Bangladesh.

Undiscovered Bangladesh

Yasmin Chowdhury with her beloved late father Al-Haj Abdul Muquith Choudhury in Trafalgar Square, London Photos: Courtesy

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4

Rather than thinking of Bangladesh as a place to give aid to, she wants British travellers to seriously consider it as a holiday destination. This is a win for both sides, she says, creating a sustainable industry for Bangladesh, and giving tourists a meaningful experience in an “authentic, unspoilt” place. “What fascinates people

Tourism in Bangladesh | Feature


A Guardian holiday hotspot The Guardian has named Bangladesh as one of its “holiday hotspots” for 2014. The annual list is widely read by travellers in the UK. It showcases underthe-radar places ... that are inspiring or exciting right now. “‘Visit before the tourists come’ is a catchy slogan,” the Guardian’s Vicky Baker, who helped compile the list, told me. “A lot of our readers are adventurous types, so they are interested to hear

are the images I show them of Bangladesh,” Yasmin says. “No one is seeing enough images of the beautiful landscapes, of just the everyday people smiling, all the stunning regions and destinations.” She told me about a recent interview she had on BBC Asia Radio, whose questions revealed much about the British mindset. “In the UK, the only things we get to hear about Bangladesh are the bleak headlines. Those of us outside the NGO world never get to hear about all the ‘good stuff’ – and there is so much good stuff!” Among the virtues she extols are: Bangladesh’s natural beauty, its artisanal crafts, and its food. But above all, “one of the greatest assets Bangladesh has is the warmth and the hospitality of the people, and their joy in seeing someone connect with them.” Bangladesh’s people? The same people we locals complain about, day in and day out, for being lazy and corrupt? Yasmin says she deals with potential extortionists by making it very clear that she is not giving handouts. Once that is removed from the equation, they are free to engage as one human to another. Yasmin is making great strides in making her true dream of getting Bangladesh on the global tourism map. For two years, she has been knocking on doors, trying to rally support for her impassioned vision for Bangladesh. In November 2013, she won the World Fringe Travel Market competition, whose judges include influential tastemakers in the British tourism industry. Since then, the doors have been opening. In addition to the Guardian

hotspot listing (see box above), she also got Bangladesh profiled in this April’s CondeNast Traveller magazine. She invites me to visit her while she is in Sylhet, and I am tempted to take her up on the offer. I get the feeling that, guided by this visitor from London, I am certain I would see my home country in a whole new light.

Land of her father

Lovedesh is also a love letter to Yasmin’s late father, Al-Haj Abdul Muquith Choudhury. Born and raised in the UK to religious Sylheti parents in a rather conservative community - she and her sisters were among the few families encouraged to go to university - Yasmin did not always have such a strong love for her desh. Like many immigrant children, she felt embarrassed by the odd-seeming customs that set her apart from her British friends. In fact, coming to terms with her Bangladeshi heritage was a long, bittersweet road, and at every turn of that road was her father’s face. After her father passed away suddenly during a trip to Sylhet in 2004, she flew in for his funeral, and bitterly swore she would never return. “I thought Bangladesh stole him from me,” she said. He had always wanted his daughters to give back in some way to Bangladesh. As they grew older and got caught up in their own lives, they were less willing to visit the home country. So he started to come by himself. And unbeknownst to his daughters, he had been sending money to setup various philanthropic ventures: a school, an orphanage, a medical

about emerging destinations that are not overrun with other holidaymakers.” Not all tourists are created equal. Bangladesh may not have the glamour of Hong Kong or the hedonism of a Thai beach, but it can offer travellers a meaningful journey. Lovedesh is featured prominently in the article, highlighting their upcoming “curated trip” to Bangladesh which is tailored to British tastes. Yasmin Chowdhury, founder of Lovedesh, said: “As the world gets smaller and more travelled, those authentic, serendipitous moments are being lost, and I think there are only a handful of countries that still offer that.” Caroline Eden, who

clinic. Yasim was stunned and overwhelmed by the grateful faces of all the people he helped, but she was still not ready to process it. For five years she mourned her father, and was still bursting into tears when she thought of him. She decided she had to come back to Bangladesh to heal this open wound. When she returned in 2009, she was able to see Bangladesh with fresh eyes. She fell in love. Yasmin says her father’s proudest moment would have been to see Lovedesh’s very first guided tour. “I feel closer to him now than I ever did. The tragedy is that he did not live to see Lovedesh. But he is in everything I do. All of this is for him.”

contributed the recommendation on this list for Kolkata, has also written extensively about Bangladesh: “There are wild jungles of the remote Chittagong Hill Tracts; new hotels opening across the country, including Panigram, a bungalow-style ecoresort in southern Bangladesh, 70km from the famous Sundarban Forest; and cultural festivals such as Hay Festival Dhaka and the Dhaka World Music Festival,” she has written. "I was inspired and absolutely loved Bangladesh when I visited,” Eden told me. She is also appreciative of our “legendary – not to mention sincere – hospitality.” Mikey Leung, principal writer of the Bangladesh Bradt travel guide, agrees. “In Bangladesh, hospitality means, how much can I give a foreign guest, not how much can I get. This realisation stunned me.” “People in poverty don't measure wealth in material terms," he said. "They measure it in terms of generosity and kindness, richness of culture. I was utterly flabbergasted by the Bangladeshi people. Everywhere I went I saw creativity and resilience. Pride and culture.” Leung is also the founder of Positive Bangladesh, the crowd-funded photography project. “Everything we need for sustainable, small scale, highvalue tourism is already here. You just need to be adventurous and open-minded.” “Travelling to Bangladesh was a gift to my life,” said Leung.

“These two beautiful girls we met in Sri Mangol are a rarity by being stunning, authentic, natural, unspoilt and unaffected. Their curiosity about us overcame their shyness,” Yasmin says. Photo: Nawaz Alamgir

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4


TRAVEL | Trekking in BAngladesh

Trekking through a peak’s shoulder

Saka Haphong:

Trekking Bangladesh’s highest peak Summiting Saka Haphong within three and half days is a daunting venture. But our trekking club, Boarding Para Sobuj Sangha (BPSS), was more than up to the task of trekking Bangladesh’s highest peak, which stands at 3,400ft By Faisal Mahmud


’ve seen a trekking boom in the past four years. After Bangladeshi climber Musa Ibrahim summited Mt Everest in 2010, more and more people have been showing up on the trails in Bandarban, Bangladesh’s trekking heaven. Trekking in Bangladesh is a more raw experience than in established destinations like Nepal, which have bamboo lodges - rest stops with food and beds - along the way those facilities don’t exist here, yet we make our night haul with local residents, renting the karbari (home of the village head) for a nominal fee of Tk100 per person per night. They might have nothing more to offer than rice, pumpkin and chicken (for Tk300/kg), but this arrangement has its own charm. This was my seventh trek with BPSS. Before joining them, I didn’t know the meaning of an “organised trek.” As a professional trekking club, they put together a full tour and route plan, gather supplies, and bring tents and other equipment. Previously, my trips were the epitomy of “disorganised.” My very first trek in 2005 was a nightmare. I foolishly went to Bandarban, a

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4

tropical hilly region, during the full-blown monsoon season, when the region is full of leeches. I had brought neither trekking boots, nor gear, nor enough supplies. Still, I couldn’t wait to go back. The natural beauty of those mountains were etched in my mind.

Day 1

Fifteen of us started the journey by bus on the night of March 13, and reached Bandarban the following morning at 8am. We had arranged over the phone for a Chandergari - four wheeler jeep, which is locally produced in Bandarban - and reached Thanchi Bazaar by 1pm. In Thanchi Bazaar, we spent around an hour shopping, and booked a guide during that time. At around 2pm, we started our trekking. Our first destination was Boarding Para, a small tribal village of the Murong tribe. When we all reached Boarding Para, it was getting dark. The time showed 6:30pm. Though some of us wanted to stay in the village, others suggested that if we didn’t

reach Sherkor Para that day, our next day’s trek would be really hard. The weather was very cool and calm, with the full moon due in two days. The slopes up to the next destination, Sherkor Para, is both long and steep, but we still decided to camp there for the

night. We started our trekking again at 7pm. We finally reached our destination at around 11:30pm. We were really exhausted. Our guide cooked chicken, which we ate with red rice.

Trekking in BAngladesh | TRAVEL

Writer at Shaka Haphong

Day 2

The next morning, we started our trekking a bit later than planned. That’s the downside of a large trekking group – the job of the coordinator is a nightmare! Anyway, we started our journey for Shimplampi, our first destination for that day, at around 10am, and reached at 12:30pm. Shimplampi is situated right beside Tajindong, one of the other highest peaks in the country. The water source of the village had dried up, so the villagers needed to bring water from a faraway source. The scarcity of resources seemed to make the villagers rather inhospitable. From Shimplampi, we made one of the longest descents of the country. It was nearly 1500ft. The whole path was almost vertical. The dead bushes, leaves

Enjoying the moonlight

and thorny bamboos on the path made it even tougher. The middle of March isn’t the time of the year I would recommend to take a trekking trip. The Jhum season begins during this time, and the indigenous farmers burn the hills to ready them for cultivation. We had to battle against the ashes from the burnt hills and loose soil as we climbed through the trail. There was a point when I was hanging on the branches of a tree. What lay ahead of me was anything but a trail. There was no visible path, only the root of some dead trees that covered the next 20-30ft of trail, surrounded by a vertical ravine almost 100ft deep. I panicked. The loose soil under my feet was moving and I couldn’t move further. But that’s the upside a large


Photos: Wahidul Arafat

trekking group – my friends were there to rescue me! I survived, and eventually we all reached the bank of Remakrijhiri, a part of the Sangu River that moves like a gyrating snake inside the hilly terrain of Bandarban. We travelled for two hours along the shore of Remakri. At 6pm, we reached Hangrai Para. Shortly afterwards, we left the main trail and continued on a steep trail uphill to the village of Nefue Para in the dark of the night. On our way to Nefue Para, we had to cross through the Chikon Kala Jungle. We finally reached our destination at around 9:30pm. The people of Nefue Para are very friendly, and the village head let us stay the night there. From Nefue Para, it is only a

couple of hours to the top of Saka Haphong (Mowdok Mual). We were ready to leave at 7am the next morning. Finally, at around 10am, we reached the peak. The Saka Haphong peak is in fact a border between Bangladesh and Myanmar. From there, we could see the dense Myanmar reserve forest.

Day 3-4

The journey back from the peak to the locality was almost a two days trek through the same trail, but we made it in one day. We were really exhausted after the excruciating trek, but the joy of summiting the highest peak of country made it worthwhile.

Maps: Asruf-Ul-Jubair

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4


Typing in the mother tongue The Banglaphonetic keyboard By Tasnuva Nova Amin


don’t believe in extraordinary people anymore; rather, I believe in ordinary people doing extraordinary things because they are desperate.” These words come from last year’s TEDxDhakatalk given by Mehdi Hasan Khan, the inventor of Avro Keyboard, a pioneering Bangla phonetic keyboard. Back in 2003, when the Internet had just begun to gain momentum and typing in Bangla on the computer was tediously complex, the 19 year old Mehdi came out with the first standardised Bangla writing software on the Internet – that too for free. It meant users no longer had to worry about matching fonts or software compatibility with other computers while writing in Bangla. His personal initiative was soon joined by talented young Bangladeshi IT enthusiasts who helped fine-tune the project. Hasin Hayder, an application developer, programmed phonetic keyboards on his own in order to simplify typing in the native language. As the community grew aware of the possibilities and the potential of virtual keyboards, more developers were drawn towards its development. Ekushey, a typing software of similar characteristics as Avro, further simplified the Bangla keyboard for Internet users. Before these, the Bangla text softwares available on the market were heavily patented and required special training for operation. On the QWERTY

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4

keyboard, one had to memorise the elaborate pattern in which Bangla alphabets were scattered, all of which acted as a hindrance to widespread user acceptance of the Bangla keyboard in daily life. “It was like locking yourself up in your own prison,” Mehdi stressed in his TedxDhakaspeech. Without delving too deeply into the technical details that made it possible to program phonetic keyboards such as Avro and Ekushey, it should be mentioned that Unicode, a universal character encoding standard, allowed the coding of each Bangla alphabet under a single standard; as a result, letters of English language on the regular keyboard could be coded as Bangla letters. For example, to type Kau, Kha, Gha one can simply press K, Kh, G. “The ability to write in your own language is a fundamental right that has to be open and accessible to all,” said Mehdi, whose revolutionary product is marketed under the tagline “Let language be free.” These third generation keyboards are freely downloadable on the Web today, as the motive of their developers is to spread the usage of Bangla in digital communication. Government, business organisations and individuals are increasingly realising the ease of Bangla typing. The impact of this is reflected through enriched local content on the Internet, as online Bangla dictionaries, applications and email rise in popularity.

Bijoy and Avro shake hands Omicron Lab, the developer of the Avro keyboard, incorporated the Unibijoy keyboard, which essentially uses the Bijoy layout with only a few stroke differences. The developers of Avro claimed 99% similarity with the Bijoy layout. Prior to releasing the Unibijoy keyboard, the developers of

Avro Keyboard including Mehdi Hasan Khan contacted Mostafa Jabbar for permission to use his keyboard layout, but they were unable to reach an agreement. Nonetheless, the developers at Omicron Lab incorporated the slightly-modified version of the Bijoy keyboard in their freeware. As a consequence, Jabbar took

Bangla Keyboard | FEature


The development of the Bangla keyboard granted millions the freedom of expression in a technological age

Bijoy: A history U By Faisal Mahmud

Cartoon: Priyo

the initial action by informing the Copyright Registrar of Bangladesh of the infringement, requesting him to take necessary steps. The Registrar issued a show cause notice against Omicron Lab in May 2010. In June 2010, the two parties reached an informal agreement for a peaceful solution, under which Omicron Lab removed Unibijoy layout from Avro in August 2010, and Jabbar withdrew the case.

ntil the late 1980s, desktop publishing had not yet come to Bangladesh, though the printing world in the west had already begun switching from the age old mechanical printing to computer-assisted printing from the late 70s. The main impediment was not just financial, but technological. There was no well-functioning, simple, easy-to-use software for typing in Bangla, the seventh most spoken language of the world. This was holding back the publishing industries in Bangladesh and the Bangla speaking regions of India. Mostafa Jabbar, a local journalist, wanted to change that story. He toiled away for a year and a half to develop Bijoy, a software interface for Bangla typing, and also the first Bangla keyboard for personal computers. In an interview with the Weekend Tribune, Mostafa recalled the story. Mostafa had been involved with the printing business since the 70s, after graduating in Bangla literature from Dhaka University. Changes were happening in the printing industry across the world, Mostafa said. From linotype and monotype printing machine, the printing industry was shifting towards using photo type setter machine. The first photo type printing machine was brought in the country by the Bureau of Statistics of Bangladesh in 1981. Soon after, publishing house like the Daily Inqilab,

Doinik Khabar and Zenith Press also brought in. In 1986, Mostafa went to London to buy a photo type setter machine. There, he laid eyes on Apple Computers' newly launched Macintosh. With a Macintosh Computer and a laser printer, one can complete both the tasks of typing and printing. That was called desktop publishing. Mostafa bought a Macintosh and brought it back to Bangladesh. At that time, there were two Bangla keyboard layouts: the Munir keyboard, which was developed in 1965 for use on typewriters, and the Shahid Lipi, which was the first complete Bangla typing interface. But those two interfaces were mainly developed for the manual typewriter, not for a desktop publishing machine like Macintosh. Mostafa wanted to overcome the limitations associated with the existing options. “I wanted to develop a new Bangla interface because typing was very hard then and the operator had to use 188 keys for typing. After typing in few pages, most of the operator suffered from severe headaches.” Success came after one and a half years of continuous work. In December 1988, an Indian programmer named Debendra Joshi made a 3KB programme named BKBD. Almost all the Bangla letters could be written using normal and shifted keys through the programme, which was written

by assembly language. The programme was named Bijoy, and commercially launched on December 16 that year. At that time, Bijoy could be used on Mac SE, Mac+512 KE and Mac-2 computers. The programme was based on Indian Bangla. “That’s why we faced problems writing joint letters through Bijoy. So, we thought of writing a programme in our own homeland. I gave the responsibility to develop the software for writing joint letter to Golam Faruq. He created a new version of Bijoy in 1992,” he said. Soon after the development of new version, Mostafa established his own company. Ananda Computers and has continued to improve Bijoy and develop other new software. Improved versions were gradually developed to overcome shortcomings of previous versions as well as to cope with newer versions of operating systems and hardware upgrades. Meanwhile, with the advent of the widespread use of personal computers for office and home in the 1990s, his invention gradually became popular among the public and private sectors, educational institutes and individual users in Bangladesh and parts of India. The copyright for the Bijoy keyboard layout was first registered in Bangladesh in 1989, and the second edition was protected by a patent in 2004. All versions of the Bijoy software are also copyright-protected nationally.

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4


Legal eagle | With Jennifer Ashraf Kashmi

Jennifer Ashraf Kashmi is a barrister and solicitor of England and Wales. She is currently Senior Partner at Legacy Legal Corporate. Got a problem? Write to Jennifer at


A troubling Prospectus


Cartoon: Rio Shuvo

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4

My friend and I have this brilliant idea for an amazing new business. There is one itsy bitsy problem: money is tight. We are both students in our second year at university, and simply don’t have the financial capital to start our business. However, the other day, my friend met a stranger at a business conference who absolutely loved the idea, and told my friend he wanted to invest. On the spur of the moment, and to avoid taking on an unknown partner, he quoted a ridiculously high amount, but the stranger’s offer

did not waver. Additionally, he suggested that if we publish a prospectus, more interested investors could sign up. My friend is quite excited about the idea and convinced me too. But I’m still not clear about what a prospectus is. He has been preparing content for the prospectus which is largely exaggerated, and overstates the financial amount that is required to startup and run the business. I’m feeling quite uncomfortable with the whole thing. Making false statements in a booklet – could I get in trouble for this?

Thank goodness you got in touch, and just in the nick of time too. What your friend is embarking on is a very dangerous road, and I advise you to steer clear of anything that seems fishy in the slightest. Firstly, let me clarify what is meant by a prospectus. A company prospectus is a disclosure document or statement released by the company, informing the general public and potential investors about the various forms of securities the company is offering, ie stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. This is usually accompanied by the company’s financial information, and its purpose is to enable any potential investors to make an informed decision on whether or not they wish to invest in the company. A simple Google search with the words “company prospectus Bangladesh” will provide you with a few examples and a quick study will help you to understand it better. Now let’s deal with this issue of making false statements within a company prospectus. You are quite right to be worried, as this would amount to a criminal offence on your part. The Bangladesh Companies Act explicitly forbids the publication of any untrue statement within a prospectus. In fact, if a prospectus contains any untrue statement, every single person authorising the issue of the prospectus will be held liable for it. If found guilty, he or she will be punishable for a term which may extend to two years, or with a fine which may extend to Tk5,000, or both. Since it isn’t 1994 anymore (the year of the Act), and Tk5,000 is

not considered a large amount now, the judge is likely to elect to give you prison time – and that wouldn’t be so pleasant, now would it? The exception to this rule would be if the authorised person could validly prove that the false statement was immaterial, or that he had reasonable grounds to believe (and did believe) that the false statement was true, up until the time the prospectus was issued. Unfortunately, neither of the aforementioned conditions appear to be applicable here. Therefore I strongly advise you to not engage with your friend. In fact, it’s better if you nform your friend about the complications and legal consequences of what he is doing. Chances are he will thank you for it later. You also may want to know that there is an existing provision for a penalty, applicable to those who fraudulently induce others to invest money. This is imprisonment for a term that may extend to five years, or a fine that may extend to Tk15,000, or both. We have all been in situations where big dreams seem so close, and I can understand how tempting it can be to take a dip in dangerous waters. However, remember that investors are savvy people, and they will often conduct due diligence of their own. Should any false representations arise in the future, you can trust me that strict legal action will be pursued by your investors. Hope this helps and I wish you all the very best with your upcoming venture!



Those who play heroes Investigating two different cases of fake freedom fighter certificates By Adil Sakhawat


eroes never die. Thanks to the heroic contribution of freedom fighters, we now live in an independent country. To honour their heroic service to the nation, the Bangladesh government has bestowed certain privileges to freedom fighters and their families. But some citizens have been found using fraudulent freedom fighter certificates to redeem these benefits for themselves.

MA Samad Sarker, chairman of Bangladesh Freedom Fighter Rehabilitation Society. Khan Anayet Karim, the freedom fighter commander of Vandaria upazila, claimed that there is no freedom fighter named Abdur Rashid in the area. “I have already heard such allegations, but no one has come to me with complaint. If someone complains, we will take due action.”

Case 1

Case 2

A gang in Ikri village in Vandaria upazila, Pirojpur, has been selling fake freedom fighter certificates and identity cards, the villagers allege. They say Abdur Rashid, who claims to be a legitimate freedom fighter, has sold these fake certificates and identity cards to at least 20 villagers in exchange for Tk1,000 each. Abdul Hakim Kha, Mozammel Kha, Shefali Begum, Kuddus Talukder, Abdul Barek, Safiya Begum of the village in Vandaria upazila have collected these fake certificates from Abdur Rashid. They say they bought the certificates expecting money from the freedom fighter’s remuneration stipend that the government provides. “We are very poor people. He told us that, as he is a freedom fighter, he has connections with the central council of freedom fighters, and that these certificates are genuine,” Mozammel Kha and Kuddus Talukder told me. However, they are being denied any compensation from the government. “Abdur Rashid is a fraud. He just cheated us.” When contacted, Abdur Rashid confessed to taking money from the villagers, and he reiterated that he is an actual freedom fighter, though he could not show me any kind of documents to confirm this. On the fake identity cards, he – illegally – uses the seal of

Two brothers are using their father’s fake freedom fighter certificate to work as police constables, according to a recent allegation made in Ullapara upazila, Sirajganj. Ranjit is now working in Dhaka, and his brother Sanjit is working in Chapainawabganj according to their father, who claims to be freedom fighter Gopal Candra. The allegation of the fake certificate came to light when police went to Sengati village in Ullapara to verify Ranjit and Sanjit’s freedom fighter certificate, which they had used to obtain employment with the police under the freedom fighter quota. Villagers of Sengati village told me that Ranjit and Sanjit’s father Gopal Candra hid the news of his sons’ employment from the villagers. The verification officer, Sub inspector Golam Kibria of the Ullapara police station, found incongruities in the mother’s name given in Ranjit and Sanjit's certificates. He investigated this incongruity with the Ullapara upazila freedom fighters commander, who assured the officer that Gopal Candra is not a freedom fighter under that upazila. The verification officer submitted his report, but the two brothers are still employed in their jobs with the police. Allegations from many villagers, who requested anonymity, said Gopal Candra gave a large bribe to the

Photo: Sadia Marium

verification officer to submit positive reports about his sons. When I asked the upazila freedom fighter commander Gazi Abdul Hamid about Gopal Candra, he confirmed: “There is no freedom fighter named Gopal Candra remaining in Sengati village. We have one Gopal Candra in Khamarpara village, Purnima Gati union in this upazila, who is a freedom fighter as well as the deputy commander of Ullapara freedom fighters command.” Another freedom fighter of the upazila told me, requesting anonymity, that a syndicate is

active in the upazila that makes fake freedom fighter certificates, and sells them to locals trying to get government jobs under the freedom fighter quota. He added that the syndicate also collected from India the fake training certificates from India, that had been given to the actual freedom fighters who had trained there during the Liberation War. They sold those for and Tk5,000. When I contacted the man who called himself Gopal Candra, he confessed to his misdeed and asked me not to publish the report.

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4


Tough Love | With DIna Sobhan Dina Sobhan is a freelance writer, and cautions readers not to take her “advice” here too seriously! Got a problem? Write to Dina at


I like this guy, and I think he likes me too, but neither of us is making a move. For the past few months, we’ve been chatting on Facebook throughout the day, and talking for hours late into the

night about deep, personal stuff. But when we meet in person he gets awkward, which makes me feel awkward and confused. Is he shy or is he friend-zoning me? I’m scared that if I make the first move, he’ll laugh at me and tell all our friends what a loser I am. What should I do?

Uh, I think you just answered your own question with the use of the word “awkward.” Your fear of being deemed a loser by your peers implies that you’re a teenager, and teenagers are, by their very nature, awkward. It’s one thing to open up when he’s hiding behind the computer at home in his boxers, munching jhal muri, and entirely another thing to face the girl who now knows that he used to groove to Enrique Iglesias when he was 9, and is jealous of his best friend … or whatever teenagers define as “deep, personal stuff.” If he wanted you just as a friend, he probably wouldn’t be spending

hours chatting with you on any medium; he’d be scouring the Internet for B grade “movies” like other teenage boys. And he definitely wouldn’t act weird when he saw you. He’s probably just thinking along the same lines as you – ie, I dig this chick and want to ask her out, but if she disses me in front of my friends, I’ll have to move to Kushtia and spend the rest of my life as a potato farmer. So, if you wait for him, you’ll have to wait forever, and life is too short for that nonsense. This is the 21st century, girl – go after what you want in no uncertain terms.

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4

*But if I’m wrong, I’ll pay the one-way fare to any village of your choice.


Cartoon: Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy

My wife just told me she doesn’t want kids. We never really discussed this before getting married two years ago. I just assumed it would happen. But she claims she “lacks the mothering gene.” What does that even mean?? She’s quite

involved in her job at a telecom company, but I see no reason why she can’t have a career and a family, too. Her own family is just as surprised as mine, and they think it will pass. But she’s already 34 and I’m 42, so we don’t have a lot of time to wait. How can I change her mind?

This brings to mind that famous line from Adam Sandler’s movie, The Wedding Singer. Upon finding out that his fiancée stood him up at the altar because she thinks he’s a loser, he replies: “…things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!” In other words, I’m puzzled as to how this vital piece of information was somehow omitted from the conversation when planning your life together. The decision to become

a parent is a monumental one, and not the sort of thing that “will pass” like a case of gastroenteritis, which I presume is their way of saying she’ll come around. It’s really not that simple; you need to discuss her reasons for denying you a rightful heir. Tell her the “lack of a mothering gene” has not stopped 90% of the world, so there’s got to be more underlying her decision, which is not one she can make in isolation. This is one of those conversations that take time and effort. Considering your age, I suggest you get on it. (Wink, wink).

A pakistani about 1971 | pov


The ‘other’ side of the war An eye opening conversation between Bangladeshi and Pakistani teenagers By Faisal Mahmud


’ll never forget the Pakistani who told me an entirely different narrative of the liberation war. One of my closest friends went to Pakistan on a government scholarship, to study engineering at a prestigious university in Lahore back in 2003. We used to chat online while he was there, and occasionally some of his new Pakistani friends would also join in a friendly group chat. We talked about all sorts of things, from kebabs, cricket, girls, trekking... and about the Liberation War. As far as I remember, it first came up on February 21. We were chatting online about our common friends who had gone to Shaheed Minar and the book fair.

He sighed and said how terribly he was missing it. My friend’s roommate, a Pakistani named Waqqas, chimed in. He bragged that Lahore also organised an international book fair for five days every year. I retorted that our book fair was for one month, and was organised to honour our glorious language movement. He said he knew all about our language movement. Then it began. We started talking about the Liberation War. I then came to know that an average Pakistani youth like Waqqas knew it as the India-Pakistan War. They believed India had attacked Pakistan, and in order to save the West Pakistan front, the central government had withdrawn troops from the East front. I was astonished. He insisted that the defeat

had not come at the hands of an organised resistance in Bangladesh, but was due to the Indian attack. Waqqas said one of his uncles, who was with the air force during the war, told him India decided it had a legitimate reason to attack when nine million Bangali refugees crossed over to the Indian side. I ranted at him, but I was armed with very few facts - I was still ignorant about our country’s history then - so I was unable to convince him. We didn’t chat further on that day. After our little feud, I avoided chatting with Waqqas. My friend attempted a reconciliation between us, but I was not interested. Then one day, Waqqas knocked me on Messenger. He told me he had learned an interesting fact from his uncle. Many paan-chewing West Pakistanis had tried eating jackfruit leaves during the war, since Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) was the primary supplier of betel leaves to the West. He had more stories: One of his relatives had married a Bangali

Cartoon: Rio Shuvo

girl in the 60s. He had become like an outcast for not choosing a fair-skinned Punjabi girl rather a dark-skinned Bangali. He said after having that little feud with me, he had read some books and talked with some of his relatives. He found there had actually been rampant anti-Bengali racism among West Pakistanis back then. Many Punjabis felt embarrassed about counting the small and dark people among their compatriots. They thought that good Muslims and Pakistanis were tall, fair and spoke chaste Urdu. People in Lahore used to laugh at the strange sounding Bangla news broadcasts from Radio Pakistan. Back in the 60s, he said, people in West Pakistan thought that India wanted to separate East Pakistan in order to protect their interests and to strengthen the economic position of Hindus. According to them, many Bangali Hindus acted as spies for India. This notion that India “could not tolerate the existence of Pakistan” was propagated by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, one of the chief players in the Liberation War, as far back as 1966. He told me that most of the senior officials of the Pakistan Army had experienced the violence of 1947 firsthand, and the mostly Punjabi members of the army hated anything related to Hinduism. Waqqas told me he had learned from his uncle that Punjabi army officers had operated with the perception that killing Hindus and driving out Hindu survivors would help save Pakistan. His uncle fought with the view that the Hindus should leave for India where they “belonged,” thus East Pakistan would be left with “pure and real” Muslims. We chatted for a while. Waqqas was a bit apologetic that day. He said the history books in Pakistan had taught them to look at the events of the Liberation War through a cloudy mirror. He admitted that the average Pakistani youth knew very little indeed about the actual facts. Today I have lost touch with Waqqas, as has my friend. This is a shame, because now that I know more about history, we could have many more discussions. Still that conversation has always stayed with me.

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4


Stay in

T20 Flash Mob Contest


By Shah Nahian

The 2014 ICC World Twenty20 is on. Stadiums across Bangladesh are a battlefield for the 16 nations fighting it out for the championship title, ICC is also hosting a different type of competition outside of the arena: A flashmob video competition. Local universities are uploading videos of their students performing their very own dance, choreographed to the theme song of the tournament “Char Chokka Hoi Hoi.” Videos are to be uploaded on YouTube and the ones with the most views are to be played at the stadium. More than 50 entries have been placed online. It’s a chance to showcase their creativity and spread the joys of the tournament throughout the country and the world.

What is a flashmob?

A flash mob is a group of people spontaneously coming together in a public space to perform a coordinated dance routine for the thrill of unwitting onlookers with their efforts.

Last week’s sudoku solutions

Fun facts

• Though the competition was originally meant for Bangladesh, entries for the contest are being uploaded by Bangladeshi’s from every corner of the globe. • The flash mob by the University of Texas at Arlington, was done in a mall without any prior permission from the authority. Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4

• They were asked to leave once the dance was over. When asked, why had gone to all that trouble, they replied: “We took the initiative to do this flash mob only to support the tigers! Go Bangladesh!” • flashmobs were originally created to make fun of hipsters. • Bill Wasik, an editor at Harper's magazine, is the "inventor" of the flashmob. He originally called it “MOB” when he began the trend in 2003. He said he created flashmobs because: "Seeing how all cultures in New York were demonstrably commingled with scenesterism … it should theoretically be possible to create an art project consisting of pure scene - meaning the scene would be the entire point of the work, and indeed would itself constitute the work. In other words, would hipsters just show up because hipsters were showing up?”

Watch the flashmobs online!

To view the videos for the competition, log on to https://www. or the official ICC YouTube channel at CricketICC

Were you part of a T20 flashmobs?

Did you witness any of the flashmobs live? Mail us your stories and experiences at weekend@

Go out


Alor PothoJatri, dance recital at EMK Center To observe Independence Day, EMK Center is staging a dance recital, Alor Pothojatri, today 7pm. It is based on the stories of our independence as a nation. Bhabna, a creative dancing group, performs today with the objective to and perform classical dance forms, along with dance styles that complement Nazrul and Tagore’s music. Bhabna aims to convey its love for the culture of Bangladesh to those home and abroad. Bhabna has toured Russia, Korea, England, India and the USA

Love in the time of War The film Shogram, releasing today, stars Indian artist Anupam Kher, European film star Asia Argento, and Bangladeshi artists Ruhee and Aman Reza. Filmgoers can have a fun outing at Blockbuster Cinemas at Jamuna Future Park, which will show be showing Shongram from today. The film is a love story set against the backdrop of the historical struggle of our independence. The film is being released at Blockbuster as well as other 50 cinema halls across the country. Directed by BritishBangladeshi Munsur Ali, the film has an international cast and crew. The narrator of the film, Karim, tells the story of his life in flashback. He goes back to the

with their varied and graceful performances. The group is now working on folk dancing, a martial dance form called Raybeshey and contemporary fusion dance forms. Samina Husain Prema, one of the founders of Bhabna and a dancer trained in the Manipuri form, is the director of Alor Pothojatri. The dance recital has the potential to be an artistic and tranquil Friday evening experience, at only Tk150 or Tk100 for EMK Center members.

Weekly Planner historical events of 1971. The audience catches a glimpse of a love story in a peaceful village that is suddenly invaded by war. The director has been working on the project for last three years, and has finally released this beautifully shot film with renowned names, which is making waves both in the national and international film scene.

March 28 Street Play: Mukto Bihongo and Baul Songs Where Liberation War Museum When 5pm What This street play is the final event of the sevenday cultural programme to observe Independence Day March 29 Dance Recital: Alor Pothojatri by Bhabna Where EMK Center When 7pm Ticket price Tk150 (Tk100 for EMK Center members). March 30 Film Screening: Close to You/Ganz Nah Beh Dir Where Berlin Hall, Goethe-Institute Dhaka When 6:30pm March 31 Solo exhibition: Shahid Kabir – ‘I Bow My Head to You in deep Obeisance’ Where Bengal Shilpalaya When 12pm to 8pm

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4

28 Last word | Shongram

Take pride

in the strength within our struggles

The last word of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s March 7 speech was “shongram” meaning “struggle” – one that, in this context, was critical to overcome. By Syeda Samira Sadeque


orty-three years later, we are still struggling, to some extent, for our freedom – inside and outside our homes, our own boundaries, our own identities. The idea of freedom, and thus struggle, has changed and transcended the boundaries of different generations, evolving each time to a different, sometimes new, meaning. As a society, we have a burgeoning, growing middle class. We are building world-class artists and Nobel laureates. We are breaking world records. We are not just growing – we are rising. But it’s a rise that comes with struggle. My generation is fighting its own battles. I recently asked my friends what they think “struggle” means for our people. The definition given by these twenty and thirty somethings was focused within the personal periphery: mental health issues, financial struggles, academic dilemmas, failed relationships and marriages, and family troubles. But the fact that the definition of our struggles have come down from a broader, public arena to a more personal level, suggests that we are no longer fighting for survival, that these are struggles we can – for the lack of a better word – afford to have. This is not to say that as a nation we don’t have any issues left to deal with. Sure, we are in need of a better governing system, fresher elections, stronger leaders in many fields, better healthcare, respect for our women, respecting class differences. The list is long. But the fact that after just four decades, we have beat India – the world’s largest democracy – in key social development areas such as child health and infant mortality rate, reflects the strength in our

struggles. It reflects the strength in our fighting spirit, and our ability as a nation to overcome struggles with undeniable passion. As I write this, I am reading two stories on the Dhaka Tribune website, about a girl being raped to death, and about the Bangladeshi women’s cricket

team on their way to play their first ever match at an ICC global event. It is difficult to feel the pride strongly, to keep the flame of passion burning, when two sides of the same issue simultaneously are developing and deteriorating. But they are not deteriorating at the same pace as they are Photo: Wikimedia

developing. Yes, today there is still oppression, but at least we have more freedom to speak out about it. It also matters what we do with that freedom. Freedom, like everything else, ought to be practiced in moderation. You can own your freedom all you want, but don’t let your freedom own you. That’s when you slip. Interestingly, the youngest person to respond to my question about what it means to “overcome struggle,”– a student who just completed high school – said: “To overcome struggle is to walk through hell with a smile on your face.” Indeed, that’s what we, as a nation, have been doing through our haunted past, and the small defeats that came after that. We have been walking proudly, waving our flags, painted in red and green, for the past four decades, smiling through our defeats. And in that, we have risen together, as a nation – a nation proud, a nation surviving, a nation free. So today, set aside the struggles and take pride: in your bhaat-andmach, in gaudy film posters, in terrible music videos of patriotic songs that only show flowers. Take pride in our hard-earned freedom to print and portray these things the way we want to. Take pride in our artists who’ve travelled the globe, pinned and waved our flag to show the world that we come from a country that carved out its own freedom. True, it’s a freedom that comes with a price. It’s a freedom we might not feel every moment. But take pride in the fact that today, you have a nation, an identity, a country brimming with tacky movie posters and the happiestpeople-in-the-world, that you can call home.

WE E K E N D TR I B U N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28, 20 1 4

WEEK E N D TR I BU N E FR I DAY, M ARC H 28 , 201 4

Weekend 48 1  
Weekend 48 1